10 awesome fantasy reads for anyone who likes a bit of magic on their bookshelf

Chosen by one of our fave authors, Martin Stewart

Most Popular

If you love Patrick Ness, Neil Gaiman or even Game of Thrones but still haven't heard of epic new fantasy tale Riverkeep, get it on your summer reading list immediately. NOW PLEASE.

It's twisting, atmospheric and dark (but actually still pretty funny), and will take you on an awesome journey with Wulliam, who's preparing to unwillingly take up his family's mantle as Riverkeep.

He'll be tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters - but when his father is possessed by a dark spirit, Wull hears that a cure for Pappa's illness lurks in the belly of a great sea-dwelling beast known as the mormorach. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

He embarks on an epic journey down the river that his family has so long protected – but never explored.If the tale of Riverkeep sounds right up your street then we're guessing you're a BIG fantasy fangirl. So who better to give you some inspo for similar books that you might enjoy than author Martin Stewart?

Here's the Top 10 fantasy books that Martin reckons you HAVE to read like, right this second. ENJOY.

Most Popular

.

Martin Stewart's Top 10 fantasy reads...

1.Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman

A masterpiece. The idea for the dæmons, (I've heard Philip Pullman describe it as an unexpected sentence that flowed onto his page), is maybe the best idea any writer of fiction has ever had. It's a profoundly brilliant and exciting concept, and a stunning example of what fantasy writing does so well: use seemingly distorted mirrors to show us the most accurate representation of ourselves. The book that changed my writing life.  

2.Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut

Another book that uses fantasy's wobbly mirror to tell a challenging, true story, Kurt Vonnegut's most highly-regarded work is a baffling, elegant, delicate story about the human condition that tells stories in parallel, jumps across space and time and juxtaposes the firebombing of Dresden with life as a resident of an alien zoo. Hugely influential and inimitable. So it goes. 

3.Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett

I didn't know which Discworld book to pick, but I had to have one (I had two initially, then made a tough choice!) I've gone with Granny Weatherwax because she's a brilliant protagonist who remains rigidly and wonderfully the same, while still changing over the course of her novels. This one is something that I've always loved Pratchett for: a cliché-baiting story about stories, which he does better than anyone.

4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling

There has to be a Harry, doesn't there? I read the first four in six days, and then cursed the stars that I had to wait for the next one! Goblet is my favourite: I loved the expanding world, the mystery threading through the action, the growing sense of Voldemort's imminence and his climactic return. Incidentally, here is my Potter-books ranking: Goblet of FirePrisoner of AzkabanHalf-Blood PrinceChamber of SecretsDeathly HallowsPhilosopher's StoneOrder of the Phoenix. I'm happy to debate this―bring it on!

GIF

5.Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

Dark and scary and weird and original and true, Gaiman's brilliant story about childhood does what the best fantasy does―present us with things we'd never imagined but instinctively recognise. The Other Mother is one of the greatest villains in fiction, and the prose is as spare and sharp as a razor. Already a classic, everyone who hasn't already read it should, as soon as possible.

6. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness (get the illustrated version, drawn by Jim Kay!)

Another hugely influential book for me, this delivered exactly what I like from my stories: a real-world narrative with something other thrown in to help us really connect with the protagonist and their journey. The monster is a wonderful creation (very, very much looking forward to the film) and the momentum that builds around Conor as the book progresses is so powerful. Another instant classic.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

7.Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith

For YA, read very YA―this one is definitely not for younger readers! Although stunningly odd in places, the oddity is normalised by the intense logic of Smith's world and the gripping authenticity of Austin's voice. It captures a teenage boy's mind with quite alarming sharpness, is howlingly funny, is original and builds the story in satisfying layers. Teenage sexuality is represented with humour and sensitivity. A brilliant example of the freedoms and possibilities that exist in writing for young adults.

8.The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

I love it when something I'm reading connects to other books, and this is at the core of Fforde's novel. Thursday Next is a wonderful protagonist―with one of the best names of all time―and the playful silliness of the narrative is grounded by a tight plot and a strictly realised world. Brilliant fun, and the beginning of a series that demands to be read by all lovers of story and literature.

GIF

9.Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez

I could have had more graphic novels on here, but I went with Locke and Key in the end because of the glorious premise at its heart: a set of keys that unlock fantastical realms of existence, and can even literally open our heads to reveal all the mesmerising trauma inside. You're right with the Locke family as they battle against their personal anguish, willing them to find the key they need to be happy. The artwork is as beautiful as the writing, so these are lovely things to behold.

10. Knights of the Borrowed Dark, by Dave Rudden

From established classics to a future one! I was lucky enough to get my grubby paws on a copy of this before it was released, which was a real thrill. Perfectly described, with unsettling details you feel in the gaps in your spine, Denizen's story feels like the beginning of something that will embed in the consciousness of a new generation of fantasy readers, and that's a hugely exciting thing to read. I'm already slavering about the sequel.

GIF
Most Popular

Are you a big fantasy fan? Reckon you'll give Riverkeep a read? Let us know with a tweet to @Sugarscape, and make sure you check out the vid below too.

RELATED STORIES

Related Article
Related Article

What do you think?

Bookclub
Share
John Green announces he might never publish another book
​​The day turns to shit​
Bookclub
Share
Wanna #CrackTheFeverCode for The Maze Runner: Fever Code?
​Crack the code to find out who Sonya is
Bookclub
Share
Er, why is this sentence in Harry Potter different in new editions?
Curious. Very curious.
Little Mix
Bookclub
Share
Little Mix announce Our World London book signings
OOH
Bookclub
Share
Zayn Malik announces first official book
​​A picture says a thousand words tbh
Bookclub
Share
Attention awkward human beings: YA writer Beth Garrod is here to rescue us all
​​Behold, her Super Awkward Guide To Life​
Bookclub
Share
EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Already our new favourite YA read
Bookclub
Share
Moobs and YOLO have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary
​Important​
GIF
Bookclub
Share
Exclusive cover reveal: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Ahead of its release next Jan
Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson
Bookclub
Share
Fancy an exclusive Jack & Jack video?
Here's one to celebrate the release of their You Don't Know Jacks book​